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Emet m'Tsiyon

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Important Story Hardly Reported -- Argentine President Demands Iran Hand Over Suspects


Fairly often, important news stories get little attention from the major international "news" networks. One such is the call of Nestor Kirchner, President of Argentina, for Iran to hand over terrorism suspects to the Argentine investigating judges. Kirchner made his appeal on the same day --Tuesday, 25 September 2007-- that Ahmadinejad spoke at the same venue, the UN General Assembly in New York. Among the suspects for whom an Argentine judge has issued an international arrest warrant is former Iranian president Rafsanjani, considered a "moderate" once upon a time.
Iran has done nothing to clarify
the attacks on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the AMIA Jewish cultural society in the same city in 1994, which together murdered more than a hundred people. Kirchner also asked the INTERPOL to intercede in capturing the eight suspects [according to La Nacion, Buenos Aires].
We are making an appeal here for the General Assembly to ratify these measures and we hope that Iran, on the basis of international law, will accept and respect the jurisdiction of Argentine justice and will cooperate with the Argentine judges to bring them to justice.
An Argentine judge issued the warrants for the Iranians and one Lebanese, probably a Hizbullah operative, in November of 2006. Since then, Iran has not complied with these warrants. Kirchner pointed out that Iran
has not facilitated the full cooperation requested by Argentine justice.
We request that the secretary-general [of the UN, Ban Ki Moon] and all the nations of the world intercede with the Islamic Republic of Iran so that they take the relevant steps.
He added that the commitment of the Argentine government had to do with
respect for the memory of the victims . . . [and] the hope that the Islamic Republic of Iran will apply international law and cooperate so that the truth can be known, nothing more and nothing less.
Fat chance of Iran cooperating but I share Kirchner's hope. Now, the highly significant question is why his speech was generally overlooked in English speaking countries. I did see a report of it on France24 in English. But France of course is not an English-speaking country. And France24 seems to have let the matter drop.

What did Kirchner's speech mean? First, he showed that Iran's barbarism is not theoretical or speculative. It involves concrete mass murerous acts in the past -- and outside the Middle East. Somehow, if an Arab or Islamic atrocity takes place in the Middle East, many people excuse it or minimize its significance. Either That's-how-those-people-are or The-victim-deserved-it or the perpetrators had-right-and-reason-on-their-side. These acts of terrorist slaughter took place in Buenos Aires, a city of old Western cultural traditions and a civilized life style, sorely tried to be sure by the increased poverty of recent decades and military juntas, etc. Secondly, the speech showed a Latin American country complaining about Iran, not a European state. Latin America is often considered "third world" [whatever that means] and it simply would not do, it seems, to show Americans that a "third world" country is also against Iran and Ahmadinejad. Thirdly, the speech emphasized Iran's violation of international law under the mullahs' regime, whereas the usual fake "human rights" and "peace" outfits [& NGOs] are often reported to be denouncing Israel for violations of international law [as if these "NGOs" really cared about international law]. Hence, it probably simply will not do to show that Judeophobic Iran violates international law.

The big question still remaining --we repeat-- is why the speech of the Argentine president before the UN General Assembly, openly connecting Iran with crimes of mass murder outside the Middle East, has gotten so little world attention.

The BBC may have had another reason not to report Kirchner's speech. He also brought up Argentina's claim to the Falkland Islands [called "las Malvinas" in Spanish]. Reports on the speech appeared in El Universal [Mexico], Clarin [Argentina], La Nacion [Argentina], etc. The fact that Kirchner's speech has gotten so little attention relative to its importance demonstrates once again that when examining the bias and propaganda character of the press and media, one must ask not only how the publication or broadcaster is lying or distorting a news story, but what stories may be left out altogether without the reader or listener or viewer being aware of the deliberate omission.
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Bloomberg did cover the speech but Bloomberg is not part of the MSM. Although respectable, it focusses on business and economics, and therefore is not mainstream. It works for a different audience. See reports in Buenos Aires Herald [in English], Wiesenthal Center site, IRN news, the BBC in Spanish (and aqui) [but not in English, because they obviously don't want the English-speaking world to know about Kirchner's charges against Iran. However, the Spanish-speaking world already knows the story --if well informed-- from other Spanish-language media. Therefore, it can't be hidden from them anyway; avoiding the story on BBC-Spanish would only make BBC-Spanish lose credibility among its target audience].
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Coming: A Jewish artifact in the hands of the Institute of the Arab World in Paris, a British journalopropagandist loves walt-mearsheimer, Jews in Hebron, Jerusalem, the Land of Israel, peace follies, propaganda, etc.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Olmert under Second Criminal Investigation -- It's about Time

Ten years ago, Hirsh Goodman, editor of the Jerusalem Report, wrote this of Olmert:
Ehud Olmert, truth be told, is one of the sleaziest and most cunning politicians this country has ever seen. . . Olmert is calculated, ruthless, corruptible, vindictive, and blindly ambitious. [Jerusalem Report, 10-16-1997; p 64]
Yet, Condoleeza [sleaza?] Rice, US secretary of state, now wearing the shoes previously worn by Dean Acheson, John Foster Dulles, William Rogers, Henry Kissinger, and Madeleine Halfbright --enemies of Israel all-- wants to bring this illegitimate office-holder to an "international conference for peace" in the Middle East. I wouldn't mind if Olmert went to such a conference, provided that he was not representing Israel. Now, the attorney general has just officially recommended a second criminal investigation against Olmert. What charges face Olmert now? What is he being investigated about? He was already under investigation for trying to manipulate the privatization sale of Bank Leumi [which the government took majority possession of after the bank crisis of 1984] in order to help a friend purchase the profitable bank. This was while he was finance minister. The new charge is that Olmert --while he was mayor-- was enabled to buy an expensive home in Jerusalem for $480,000 below market price from a building contractor. In exchange the contractor received special favors from officials in the Jerusalem municipality, allowing him to violate building ordinances [zoning laws].

Many Knesset members called on Olmert to resign immediately. Zevulun Orlev, chairman of the state control commission of the Knesset, pointed out that in a properly functioning state, a prime minister under criminal investigation resigns. Echoing Hirsh Goodman's words of 1997, MK Aryeh Eldad of the National Union Party, said:
Olmert is the most corrupt prime minster that Israel has ever had
None of this seems to move Condoleeza Rice [Signorina Riso Amaro] or Prez Bush. The Arabs ruling the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority zones in Judea-Samaria are far from having come to terms with Israel's existence. The Hamas frankly keeps on saying that it wants to destroy Israel. Abu Mazen, the terrorist in a suit, is coy, pretending to be for peace when he meets Western leaders, but encouraging terrorist murders of Israelis. He has not fulfilled the condition of the Quartet that the Palestinian Authority disarm the armed terrorists ["militias"] in its zones of authority. There is no chance in the foreseeable future for real, lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Hamas makes less of a pretense than Abu Mazen. Israeli forces operating in Judea-Samaria and Gaza regularly arrest Fatah terrorists, as well as would be mass murderers of the Hamas, Islamic Jihad, "Popular Resistance Committees," Popular Front, etc. Mass murder attacks planned for the Yom Kippur holiday were foiled.

On the eve of Yom Kippur, during the fast, gangs of Arabs marched on the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood in Jerusalem. Fortunately, young Jews were there to stop them, although the battle did not get beyond the stone-throwing stage, as far as I know.

Yet Condi and George and assorted disturbers of the peace like Javier Solana and Tony Blair claim that conditions for peace now are in place. At this point, let us bear in mind that the West oppressed the Jews for nearly two thousand years since the Roman destruction of Jerusalem while crushing two Jewish revolts, once in 70 CE, and a second time in 135 CE. The Arabs/Muslims have oppressed Jews since the early days of Islam, about 1300 years ago, according to testimony in Muslim writings. How can either the Western or the Islamic governments be assumed to be in favor of peace with or for Israel given that long historical background???

Let's go back to Hirsh Goodman in 1997:
Olmert is bad news. One just has to look at his personal record to know it -- from the cloud surrounding his personal property [= real estate] deals to his lastest clash with the law over alleged irregularities in campaign financing. His political record is no better. Suffice it to say that he entered the Knesset as its youngest member in 1974 and made a name as a fighter against organized crime. Ever since, he has been repeatedly questioned for alleged violations of the law, culminating in his current trial from which he may walk away judged not guilty but with yet another stain on his character.
Olmert is a man to be watched and feared.

The good news is that other charges already face Olmert and have been and are being investigated by state bodies, although only the two mentioned are officially under criminal investigation -- so far. On the other hand, Condi and George and the Quartet think that Olmert can legitimately negotiate for Israel at an international conference which probably has no other purpose than to weaken Israel and ready the Jews for another "Final Solution," for which purpose Ahmadinejad visited Columbia University and the British university teachers union called for a boycott of Israeli universities, although they had never done so for universities in Islamofascist Pakistan, for instance, or in the genocidal Sudan or Saddam's Iraq or the old Soviet Union or in Britain itself on account of the UK's offense of occupying parts of Iraq. It is curious, isn't it, how the anti-Israel and Judeophobic rants of the Islamofascists [like Ahmadinejad] and parts of the "left" and "right" fit in with the policies of Establishment politicians and diplomats like Blair & Bush???
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Coming: a Jewish artifact in the hands of the Institute of the Arab World; Are Bat Ye'or & Robert Spencer reincarnations of Karl Marx?; Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron, the Land of Israel, peace follies, propaganda, Artistes et autistes pour la paix, etc.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Arab Nationalist Megalomania Endorsed in Paris by the Institut du Monde Arabe

UPDATING 1-27-2008 at bottom

Sometimes Arab nationalist or pan-Islamist claims to greatness are so bizarre that you have to laugh. And laughter is a precious commodity in today's world menaced by terrorism, mass slaughter, and war mongering in the name of "peace."

For those who have not been to Paris in the last twenty years or so, one of the major institutions in the city is the Institut du Monde Arabe. I have no doubt that it occupies less real estate than the palace of Versailles in the Paris suburbs. But it probably holds one of the largest tracts of real estate inside the city. This Institute of the Arab World is a huge complex of buildings on the River Seine taking up acres and acres. It is under French government jurisdiction, as part of the Eurabia policy, but it has also received large donations from wealthy Arabs. The late Rafik Hariri was probably a contributor. The cost was probably in the hundreds of millions of dollars. It is considered a prestigious location in Paris, a city which already has many fine and splendid museums, while poor citizens line up for a green gruel resembling congealed pea soup that is ladled out to them on the Boulevard Richard Lenoir [while I observed].

I had noticed an effort by the Institut to expand its coverage and patronage to cultures outside the Arab cultural and geographic sphere. It hosted an Armenian exhibition during the past year, a year dedicated in fact to remembering Armenia in many Parisian museums and libraries [such as the modern Armenian art exhibit at the Petit Palais]. Bear in mind that Armenia was attacked, devastated and conquered by Arab forces in the Middle Ages, suffering enslavement, destruction of notable artistic property, humiliation, etc. The Institute also hosted --if I am not mistaken-- an exhibit on Venice and Constantinople. Well, if my memory serves me about the subject matter of the exhibit, then one should recall that Constantinople was twice besieged by Arab forces in the early Muslim-Arab centuries [5 years from 673-678; then 2 years 716-717]. As a Jew, I have my own complaints about the Byzantine Empire. But it was fortunate for civilization that Constantinople withstood the sieges on those two occasions. Now, it seems that an Arab nationalist enterprise, the Institute of the Arab World, is allowed by the French government to host an exhibit devoted to relations between Venice and Byzantium/Constantinople. On the other hand, maybe my memory fails and the exhibit was really about the relations between Venice and the Ottoman Empire, its capital at Constantinople. This still demonstrates the aggrandizing tendency of Arab nationalism.

Now here's a description of the Institut du Monde Arabe and the vast areas that it claims to be within its purview. This description could set you laughing, if you know anything about the history and geography of the places included within the Arab sphere. What makes you feel less like laughing is that it was published by a semi-official French entity, Paris Airports Authority in its magazine Aeroports de Paris [no. 7 / 02/06]:
From the 8th to the 15th century, the Arabo-Muslim civilization stretched from the borders of Central Asia to the slopes of the Pyrenees. This thriving, free-trade, geopolitical zone shared the same langugage, Arabic, and breathed new life into universal science. The Institut du Monde Arabe, in Paris, presents this golden age.
Du VIIIe au XVe siecle, la civilisation Arabo-Musulmane s'etend des confins de l'Asie Centrale jusqu'aux contreforts des Pyrenees. Cet espace geopolitique prospere, libre d'echanges et dote d'une langue commune, l'arabe, donne un nouveau souffle a l'histoire universelle des sciences. L'Institut du Monde Arabe, a Paris, presente cet age d'or.
Note that both the English and French texts appear as published in Aeroports de Paris. Further, we are told that the article --and therefore the texts above-- was written in collaboration with Ahmed Djebbar, "commissaire scientifique de l'exposition," in English, "exhibition curator." So the megalomania of the text does not seem to be merely that of a gushing and ignorant, juvenile journalist, but of Ahmed Djebbar, a curator on the staff of the Institute.

We are told about free trade but not about the slave trade, which was one of the factors in the prosperity of the Arab ruling caste in the "golden age," such as it was. We are not told that the many lands conquered by the Arabs had their own languages and were not necessarily eager to be subsumed or submerged into an Arab empire. The conquered subject peoples continued to speak their own languages, although some native languages were wiped out as spoken tongues after brutal Arab suppression of revolts, as in Egypt where two mighty revolts were brutally repressed and the Coptic language vanished as Egypt's vernacular.

There was some flourishing of scientific activity even after the Arab conquests. But it would be interesting to consider whether there would have been more contributions to science from the lands conquered by the Arabs if the conquests had not taken place. Anyhow, the blurb above seems to acknowledge indirectly that any Arab contributions to science died out in the 15th century. That happens to have been the century wherein Ibn Khaldun died. But he died at the beginning of the century, in 1406, and little if anything in science went on after him.

The description implies that Persia and Anatolia were within the Arab empire. This was not true except for short periods. Of course, the description does not report that vast areas in Anatolia [Asia Minor] were devastated and depopulated for decades, if not centuries, by the frequent wars carried out by the Arabs against Byzantium.
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UPDATING: According to the Radio France International and al-Ahram sites, the exhibition was called Venise et l'Orient [Venice and the East] and covered Venice's relations with the Eastern Mediterranean countries from the Middle Ages [9th century] until Napoleon put an end to the Venetian Republic [1797]. Of course, for most of that time, Constantinople was outside the Islamic and Arab sphere, although it remained outside so long only by the force of arms. The exhibition was set up in cooperation with the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. A previous exhibition at the Institute, very much in the Arab aggrandizement and self-flattery mode, was the Golden Age of Arab Science [L'Age d'Or des Sciences Arabes] in 2005.

UPDATING 1-27-2008: Robert Irwin, Middle Eastern editor of the TLS [Times Literary Supplement], has long been a sympathizer of the Arabs against Israel. But on the issue of Islamic contributions to science he agrees with me, roughly speaking. See link. Here's a previous post on this blog that considers the same problem of "Islamic science" and describes the case of Ibn Rushd [= Averroes].
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Coming: British journalopropagandist praises walt-mearsheimer, James Baker & Israel, US policy on Israel, Jews in the Land of Israel, Jerusalem, Hebron, etc.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Arabs in Gaza Have Destroyed Jewish Antiquities

UPDATED 11-9-2007 & 12-5-2007 [see at bottom]

An Arab propagandist in the guise of an American academic threw all academic objectivity to the winds in a relatively recent book, which she seems to hope will qualify her for tenure at Columbia University. One Nadia Abu al-Haj [also "Nadia el-Haj" & "Nadia Abu el-Haj"] has written Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society (University of Chicago Press, 2001), which makes a number of outrageous claims. Such as no Jewish past in the land of Israel, such as only a minority of Jews in Jerusalem in Herod's time, etc. One of her claims is that Israeli archeologists systematically disregard artifacts and remains of cultures other than Jewish and that Israeli archeologists may even systematically --or out of habitual negligence-- destroy non-Jewish remains. In fact, the reality is the opposite. One notable case is that of a Jewish inscription in the Hebrew and Greek alphabets that still existed as recently as 20 years ago but has since been destroyed, apparently by Islamic fanatics shortly after the start of the hate movement called the First Intifada [according to Haggai Huberman; the first "intifada" started in December 1987].

This stone carving was found in 1870, apparently by British travelers. It was discovered in the Great Mosque of Gaza on a stone column which was on the upper tier of a double-tiered support for the roof and walls of the mosque. The mosque structure was originally a Crusader church, built after Baldwin I, the Crusader king of Jerusalem, decided to rebuild the city in 1149, after it had lain in ruins since before the Crusader conquest as a result of wars between Seljuk Turks and other Muslim factions, or may have been destroyed at some point by the Crusaders themselves [according to Michael Avi-Yonah]. In this light, it would seem that the Crusaders reused parts --including pillars-- of wrecked earlier buildings that were lying around in the ruined city. The Hebrew and Greek inscriptions together with the decorating medallion/wreath, described by Hershel Shanks as "Hellenistic," indicate that the pillar was part of a synagogue built during the late Roman or the Byzantine periods. The Hebrew and Greek are identical in meaning. They are a man's name, Hananyah son of Jacob,

Hananyah bar Ya`aqob [in Hebrew writing חנניה בר יעקב ]. The Greek inscription is Anania giyo Iako, meaning the same thing. Giyo [in today's Greek yiyo] means son or son of. Other features of the bas-relief include a seven-branched, three-footed menorah, a shofar [used in the synagogues on Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur], an etrog [citron] and a lulav [palm frond].

Note that the Hebrew inscription uses the Aramaic word bar בר, meaning son or son of, instead of the usual Hebrew word ben בן. Aramaic was the predominant spoken language of the Jews in Israel in the late Roman and Byzantine periods. Hananyah was probably a major donor to building the synagogue, and he was honored with a stone carving in his name, just as Jews today honor major donors with stone or metal plaques in synagogues.

To summarize the history of the inscription of the bas-relief: 1) the synagogue with the carving in Hananyah's name was erected in the late Roman or Byzantine periods; 2) the synagogue may have been destroyed at the time of the Arab conquest or in one of the inter-Muslim wars in the early Muslim period before the Crusades, or when the Crusaders destroyed the city of Gaza --according to Michael Avi-Yonah [in the Encyclopedia Judaica, vol 7]--; 3) in 1149, Baldwin I decreed that Gaza be rebuilt; the column from the ruined synagogue was reused to build a Crusader cathedral; 4) after the Muslim reconquest of Gaza, the cathedral was made into a mosque, called the Great Mosque of Gaza; 5) 1870 the bas-relief with its Hebrew and Greek inscriptions was rediscovered on an upper tier of columns supporting the mosque structure; 6) shortly after the start of the hate movement called the First Intifada [December 1987], the bas-relief was destroyed by Muslim haters, apparently because this remnant of ancient Jewish civilization in the Land of Israel was intolerable to them both as Muslims and Arab nationalists. In order to destroy it they needed long ladders, or maybe a scaffolding, in order to get up to the height of the stone carving on the pillar.


Michael Avi-Yonah, "Gaza," Encyclopedia Judaica, vol 7.
Haggai Huberman, יהודים בעזה (Netsarim: the Center for the Heritage of the Jews of Gaza 1993)
Hershel Shanks, Judaism in Stone: The Archaeology of Ancient Synagogues (New York: Harper & Row; Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1979).

Nadia Abu al-Haj's denial of the Jewish past in the Land of Israel seems to work by the rule of Article 20 of the PLO Charter:
Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history. . . [from Article 20 of the PLO Charter; Harkabi trans]
Since the PLO Charter denies any Jewish history in the Land of Israel, then those who support the aims of that Charter and those who devoutly believe in it, are likely to deny [or, if under pressure to admit some Jewish link to Israel, then minimize] Jewish history in Israel, which is what Abu al-Haj does, no matter what the actual facts are as attested by archeological findings, by ancient writings, whether pagan writings in Greek or Latin, whether Jewish writings in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, or even as attested in the Quran and Arab historiography [see our earlier post on the Quran's Zionist passages, as well as Arab historians writing before invention of the "palestinian people" notion]. Since Abu al-Haj is interested in building up a mystique of the newly invented and supposedly put-upon "palestinian people," it is unlikely that her book reports that the centuries-old Jewish community of Gaza was brought to a violent end in 1929, as the Gaza Jews were driven out by Arab pogroms.

It is noteworthy that Abu al-Haj's tract was published by the University of Chicago Press, proving once again that academic standards among the academic publishers are down.

UPDATING: The Biblical Archeology Review published an article about the destruction of this bas relief stone carving in its issue of January/February 2001. It also reports Arab destruction of other Jewish archeological remains in Gaza and elsewhere [including the Sinai under Egyptian control]. Most notably, perhaps, it shows an Arab mob happily wrecking the Tomb of Joseph in Sh'khem and desecrating Jewish holy writings. For more on Joseph's Tomb see here.
Also see on Joseph's Tomb & its wrecking by an Arab mob:
Sharon Waxman, "They Knew Not Joseph," Jerusalem Post, 24 November 2000.

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Here is a relevant page from the blog of Paula Stern who awakened us to Columbia's support for historical falsification to Israel's detriment.
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Coming: A leading British jounalist gushes over walt-mearsheimer, Jews in the Land of Israel, Jerusalem, Hebron, peace follies, propaganda, etc.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Hamas Keeps Making a Fool out of Time Magazine

Time magazine of 13 August 2007 painted an idyllic picture of Gaza under Hamas rule [here & here]. This rosey colored view of Hamas reflects political sympathy in some quarters in the United States for this offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and genocidal enemy of Israel. Nevertheless, despite the Western coddling that the Hamas has gotten for years, the tiger doesn't change its stripes. It continus to openly display its brutality, not only towards Israel and Jews elsewhere, but towards its own palestinian Arab brothers. See this late story from the Associated Press. Meanwhile, Fatah, the ostensibly moderate rival of Hamas, is showing that they're made out of the same right stuff [see here].

Ironically, the Philadelphia Bulletin reported last week & Israel Radio Beyt today [through David Bedein on Yoman Huts], that Hamas propaganda agencies have been allowed to operate in Britain [see here & here].

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Coming: More on Jews in Jerusalem & Hebron, the Arab Conquest, US Foreign Policy toward Israel & James Baker, Walt-Mearsheimer, etc.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

The Arab Invaders Practiced Population Transfer

Tripoli in Lebanon has been in the news lately as the nearest city to the battles going on at the Nahr al-Barad refugee settlement between the Lebanese army and jihadist fanatics, calling themselves Fatah al-Islam [Islamic Conquest]. When the Arab-Muslims originally captured Tripoli --which they now call Trablus-- around the year 640 CE, its previous population abandoned it or may have been forced to leave by the commander of the conquering army, Mu`awiya. Some may have fled before the actual conquest, apparently fearing the terror meted out to other cities that had been captured by or had surrendered to the Arab conquerors. This previous population was predominantly Greek Orthodox in religion, probably spoke both Greek and Aramaic [Greek for the upper classes and Aramaic for the poorer, most probably bilingual to some extent], and were loyal to the Byzantine Empire. Since this empire actually called itself Roman and was a continuation of the Roman Empire in the East, the Arabs called these people Rumis, that is, Romans.

Milka Levy-Rubin points out that the people of Tripoli fled or abandoned or were driven out of the city and went to territory that was securely Byzantine at that time. Then, she points out, Jews were brought in to take the place of the previous population. Her article [Cathedra (September 2006), see here] is largely based on a book by the early Arab historian, Al-Baladhdhuri. He wrote:

Mu`awiyah made it [Tripoli] a dwelling place for a large body of Jews
[Al-Baladhuri, The Origins of the Islamic State (New York 1924), p 195]
Note that whereas the original Byzantine Christian population of Tripoli had fled before the conquerors, the Jews were transferred into the city from their previous homes. We are not told how the Jews felt about being forced to move in this manner. However, it is likely that the Arab conquerors preferred Jews in a coastal city like Tripoli since the Jews were unlikely to make common cause with the Byzantine Empire for which Jews felt a great antagonism in those times. And the feeling was mutual. Hence, the Arab conquerors seem to have viewed Jews as suitable for repopulating abandoned localities. Note that the Arabic title of al-Baladhdhuri's book is: Kitab Futuh al-Buldan, which means The Book of the Conquests of Cities [or "countries"]. The Arabs in those days were frank about having conquered many cities and frankly took pride in these invasions, conquests, and occupations.

Levy-Rubin argues that the conquerors were concerned to rid the Levantine coast from Gaza north to Antioch of population that might be loyal and/or sympathetic to the Byzantine Emperor. Whereas the people of some coastal towns fled, the people of others were driven out. In the case of Tripoli and other places, a new population was brought in. In some places that surrendered, much of the earlier population remained, but houses and real estate had to be given up to accomodate new settlers, usually Arabs in places where much or most of the previous population remained. For instance, Jews in Tiberias had to surrender some of their homes to Arab invaders. Speaking of Tripoli today, it is not likely that the present population is descended from either the Christians who fled to safer Byzantine territory or from the Jews who were brought in to take their place.

It is of interest that al-Baladhdhuri's book was translated into English precisely by Prof. Philip Khoury Hitti as early as 1924. Hitti testified for the Arab side before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on "palestine" in 1946. That is, Hitti was an Arab nationalist at that time, although the 1924 edition is dedicated to Prof. Richard Gottheil, also a specialist in Middle Eastern history and languages, a Jew and a Zionist. [Hitti's version spells the author's name al-Baladhuri].

Ira Lapidus writes about that early period of the Arab-Muslim conquests:

the Arab Conquerors [were transformed] into an elite military caste
[A History of Islamic Societies (Cambridge: CUP 1988), p 44]
This observation by Lapidus fits in with al-Baladhdhuri's account of the conquests and is amply confirmed by Joseph Schumpeter's acount of Arab imperialism in his work Imperialism [see earlier posts on this blog; search for Schumpeter].
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Coming: love & admiration in the UK for the walt-mearsheimer propaganda tract, Jews in Jerusalem, etc.

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Hamas belies its friends at Time Mag -- CNN takes up the relay

Despite Time's best efforts to cover up for its brutality, Hamas proves that a tiger doesn't lose its stripes. More on that below. Now, CNN has taken up the pro-Hamas relay from Time. First CNN had their ridiculous "God's Warriors" series, which was an asinine stew of absurdities. Jews in Hebron who have been the victims of Arab/Muslim terrorism, more than the reverse, are depicted as the equivalent of Bin Laden. So were the American anti-abortion TV preachers. All this thanks to CNN's star international correspondent, one C Amanpour.

Then, CNN came out with a somewhat obsequious interview conducted with Khaled Mash`al, the head of Hamas who sits in Damascus, where his patron, Bashar Assad, plots on bringing Lebanon back under Syrian control. Mash`al claimed to CNN that he had been very generous for releasing an audiotape of Israeli Gil`ad Shalit, whom Mash`al implicitly equates with Arab terrorists sitting in Israeli jails. He proceeded to complain that he had not been compensated for his generosity. Nevertheless, according to international law, all prisoners of war, which is how Mash`al described Shalit, are supposed to be accessible to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Hamas is a government in Gaza and was also the government in the Judea-Sarmaria region until the recent mini-civil war between Hamas and Fatah which left Fatah in control of Judea-Samaria with Hamas in control in the Gaza Strip. And Hamas wants to be treated as a legitimate government by those Western powers, like the United States, the EU states, Norway, etc., that are so eager to give away monetary goodies to Hamas if they would only make some rhetorical gestures toward "recognizing" Israel. These states --especially Norway which already has full relations with the Hamas govt-- show their contempt for international law by not conditioning their dealings with the Hamas statelet on the Hamas' complying with international law by making Shalit available to meet with Red Cross representatives. This is what one can expect from the Western powers, that pretend to oppose terrorism and to promote human rights and international law.

Be that as it may, Shalit's father, No`am Shalit, has already called Mash`al a liar for claiming in the CNN interview that he --Mash`al-- had established contact with the elder Shalit, and that he had informed the father that his son was alive and in good condition, and that the Hamas had brought him a pair of eyeglasses from home [Yisraeli, 8-26-2007]. Needless to say, the CNN interviewer did not remind Mash`al that not allowing Shalit access to the Red Cross was a violation of international law. Nor was there any mention of this requirement of international law.

As for Time, following our quotes [in a prior post] from its pro-Hamas propaganda gush of 8-13-2007, Time continued with:
"With peace on the streets, civil society is returning to Gaza."
Yet, despite Time's slick rhetorical efforts to cover up Hamas brutality, even against its own palestinian Arab brothers, Hamas insists on being itself, thus proving the old American proverb: You can't shine s***. Most recently, when a mob of Hamas supporters demonstrating at the Rafiah border crossing with Egypt got out of hand, the Hamas operatives in charge did what comes naturally to them. They shot at their own. See here. Only one was killed. Earlier, last Friday, August 31, Fatah supporters demonstrated against Hamas control of certain mosques in Gaza, by praying on the street instead of inside the mosques. So the Hamas powers that be outlawed praying on the street and imposed fines on Fatah men arrested for praying on the street [reported on the Israeli news website in Hebrew, nfc.co.il on 9-2-2007; part of the story is reported by Reuters].

Other abuses of their own population by the Hamas rulers of Gaza, after the raid on the wedding and the forced conversion --reported in our previous post on Gaza-- they suppressed a demonstration by their opposition. Here are more tidbits about the life of law & order in Gaza under Hamas. Here is an update on the journalists' situation in Gaza as of 8-26-07.

But never fear. Nothing can shake the partiality of most Western governments for Hamas. The US Secretary of State, Miss Rice, called Hamas: a "resistance" movement [see previous post here] in congressional testimony. Tony Blair, the delegate to the "peace process" of the so-called Middle East "peace" Quartet, has long been sympathetic to the Judeophobic Hamas.

Demonstrating Time's anti-Israel commitment is Time's reporter extracting the following simplistic accusation against Israel from Gaza Arabs:
Yet Gazan business owners like Telbani and Helou --practical, apolitical men-- are unanimous in their criticism of Israel rather than Hamas for economic problems.

What would any Gaza resident dare to say now? Especially if he's apolitical and does not want to get in trouble with Hamas?

Yes, it's always Israel's fault whatever it does. Even if it leaves Gaza and forces Jewish inhabitants there to leave along with the army. Even it restores Gaza to the status quo before the 1967 Six Day War.

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Coming: more on US Middle East policy & James Baker, more on Jews in Hebron and Jerusalem, etc.

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